(true stories)

Overheard in a computer shop:
Customer "I'd like a mouse mat, please."
Salesperson "Certainly sir, we've got a large variety."
Customer "But will they be compatible with my computer?"


I once received a fax with a note on the bottom to fax the document
back to the sender when I was finished with it, because he needed
to keep it.


Customer in computer shop "Can you copy the Internet onto this
disk for me?"


I work for a local ISP. Frequently we receive phone calls that
start something like this Customer "Hi. Is this the Internet?"


Customer "So that'll get me connected to the Internet, right?"
Tech Support "Yeah."
Customer "And that's the latest version of the Internet, right?"
Tech Support "Uhh...uh...uh...yeah."


Tech Support "All double-click on the File Manager

Customer "That's why I hate this Windows - because of the icons -
I'm a Protestant, and I don't believe in icons."

Tech Support "Well, that's just an industry term sir.I don't
believe  it was meant to-"

Customer "I don't care about any 'Industry Terms'. I don't
believe in icons."

Tech Support "Well...why don't you click on the 'little picture'
of a filing 'little picture' OK?"

Customer [click]


Customer "My computer crashed!"
Tech Support "It crashed?"
Customer "Yeah, it won't let me play my game."
Tech Support "All right, hit Control-Alt-Delete to reboot."
Customer "No, it didn't crash-it crashed."
Tech Support "Huh?"
Customer "I crashed my game. That's what I said before. I crashed my
spaceship and now it doesn't work."
Tech Support "Click on 'File,' then 'New Game.'"
Customer [pause] "Wow! How'd you learn how to do that?"


Got a call from a woman said that her laser printer was having problems
the bottom half of her printed sheets were coming out blurry. It seemed
strange that the printer was smearing only the bottom half.I walked her
through the basics, then went over and printed out a test sheet. It
printed fine. I asked her to print a sheet, so she sent a job to the

As the paper started coming out, she yanked it out and showed it to me.
I told her to wait until the paper came out on its own.

Problem solved.


I had been doing Tech Support for Hewlett-Packard's DeskJet
division for about a month when I had a customer call with a problem
I just couldn't solve.

She could not print yellow. All the other colors would print fine,
which truly baffled me because the only true colors are cyan, magenta,
and yellow. For instance, green is a combination of cyan and yellow,
but green printed fine. Every color of the rainbow printed fine except
for yellow.

I had the customer change ink cartridges. I had the customer delete
and reinstall the drivers.Nothing worked. I asked my coworkers for
help; they offered no new ideas.After over two hours of troubleshooting,
I was about to tell the customer to send the printer in to us for repair
when she asked quietly,"Should I try printing on a piece of white paper
instead of this yellow paper?"


A man attempting to set up his new printer called the printer's tech
support number, complaining about the error message "Can't find the
printer." On the phone, the man said he even held the printer up in
front of the screen, but the computer still couldn't find it.


And another user was all confused about why the cursor always
moved in the opposite direction from the movement of the mouse. She
also complained that the buttons were difficult to depress. She was
very embarrassed when we asked her to rotate the mouse so the tail
pointed away from her.


Customer "Hello? I'm trying to dial in. I installed the software
okay, and it dialed fine. I could hear that. Then I could hear the
two computers connecting. But then the sound all stopped, so I picked
up the phone to see if they were still connected, and I got the
message, 'No carrier,' on my screen. What's wrong?"


An unfailingly polite lady called to ask for help with a Windows
installation that had gone terribly wrong.

Customer "I brought my Windows disks from work to install them on
my home computer." Training stresses that we are "not the Software
Police," so I let the little act of piracy slide.

Tech Support "Umm-hmm. What happened?"

Customer "As I put each disk in it turns out they weren't

Tech Support "Do you remember the message exactly, ma'am?"

Customer (proudly) "I wrote it down. 'This is not a Macintosh
disk. Would you like to initialize it?'"

Tech Support "Er, what happened next?"

Customer "After they were initialized, all the disks appeared to
be blank. And now I brought them back to work, and I can't read
them in the A drive; the PC wants to format them. And this is our
only set of Windows disks for the whole office. Did I do something


For a computer programming class, I sat directly across from
someone, and our computers were facing away from each other. A
few minutes into the class, she got up to leave the room. I
reached between our computers and switched the inputs for the
keyboards. She came back and started typing and immediately
got a distressed look on her face. She called the tutor over and
explained that no matter what she typed, nothing would happen.

The tutor tried everything. By this time I was hiding behind my
monitor and quaking red-faced. I typed, "Leave me alone!" They
both jumped back as this appeared on their screen. "What the..."
the tutor said. I typed, "I said leave me alone!" The kid got
real upset. "I didn't do anything to it, I swear!" It was all
I could do to keep from laughing out loud. The conversation
between them and HAL 2000 went on for an amazing five minutes.

Me "Don't touch me!"
Her "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hit your keys that hard."
Me "Who do you think you are anyway?!"

Finally, I couldn't contain myself any longer, and fell out of my
chair laughing. After they had realized what I had done, they both
turned beet red. Funny, I never got more than a C- in that class.


This guy calls in to complain that he gets an "Access Denied"
message every time he logs in. It turned out he was typing his
username and password in capital letters.

Tech Support "Ok, let's try once more, but use lower case

Customer "Uh, I only have capital letters on my keyboard."


Email from a friend "CanYouFixTheSpaceBarOnMyKeyboard?"


My friend was on duty in the main lab on a quiet afternoon.
He noticed a young woman sitting in front of one of the
workstations with her arms crossed across her chest, staring
at the screen. After about 15 minutes he noticed that she
was still in the same position, only now she was impatiently
tapping her foot. He asked if she needed help and she replied
"It's about time! I pressed the F1 button over twenty minutes

[back to humour archive]